The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Liberals and Their Nightmare Fantasies

Posted on | October 31, 2016 | Comments Off on Liberals and Their Nightmare Fantasies


Every four years, the Republican Party choose a man to be labeled the next Hitler by liberals. Having been born during the presidency of Eisenhower (who opposed Communism and was therefore Hitler, in the liberal imagination) and having lived through the presidencies of five other Republican presidents, I can tell you that at least four of those were demonized as latter-day Hitlers by liberals. The sole exception was Gerald Ford, whom liberals considered too stupid and incompetent to be Hitler.

The Republicans are Nazis, every liberal believes. Certainly, we all remember how in the late 1980s, roaming gangs of GOP brownshirts rounded up Jews, labor-union leaders and subversives (e.g., people driving Volvos with Dukakis-Bentsen bumper stickers) who were loaded onto railroad cattle-cars and shipped off to the death camps in Idaho.

What? That never happened, you say? Well, better not tell that to Jonathan Chait, who’s resurrecting the old liberal fear campaign:

Right-wing populism has had the same character for decades — in 1950, Theodor Adorno described the fear of outsiders, and the veneration of law and order, as “the authoritarian personality”; in 1964, Richard Hofstadter described a similar tendency as “the paranoid style” — but until recently, those movements lived outside both political parties. The political scientists Jonathan Weiler and Marc Hetherington found that, as recently as 1992, the Republican and Democratic parties had an equal proportion of voters with an authoritarian personality. By Obama’s first term, authoritarian personalities identified overwhelmingly with the GOP. In its preference for simplicity over complexity, and its disdain for experts and facts, the party has steadily ratcheted down its standard of intellectually acceptable discourse: from a doddering Ronald Reagan to Dan Quayle to George W. Bush to Sarah Palin. From this standpoint, Trump is less a freakish occurrence than something close to an inevitability.

You can read the rest of that, but Chait’s invocation of Adorno (a member of the Frankfurt School which brought Cultural Marxism to America) shows how nothing is ever really new in politics. If you spend a few decades watching this game closely — and I have clear memories of presidential campaigns going back as far as 1968 — the liberal playbook becomes as predictably familiar as the Ohio State Buckeyes’ offense during the Woody Hayes “three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust” era.

Decades ago, when Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” some liberals seemed to assume that FDR intended “fear itself” as a synonym for the Republican Party. For more than 80 years, Democrats and their liberal journalist friends have striven to convince Americans that catastrophe will befall us if the GOP wins the next election. The names of the candidates change, and the specific “issues” vary a bit from one campaign cycle to the next, but always the Democrat message must tap into that sense of primordial fear that haunts the liberal imagination. The ghost of Calvin Coolidge and the spooky specter of Ronald Reagan — these spirits of long-dead Republican presidents swirl around in the disordered minds of young liberals. College kids who were not yet born when Reagan was president have been taught that the 1980s were the Dark Ages of American history, an era even worse than the unspeakable nightmare of the Eisenhower presidency.

Somehow, the liberal believes, the American epoch that produced Elvis Presley and the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air was the worst thing that ever happened in all human history, and why? Because there was a Republican in the White House. The myth of the 1950s as an era of “repression” has a specific origin, having been invented by Communist Party sympathizers who seemed mystified as to why Americans didn’t want to employ admirers of Josef Stalin as defense-plant workers or public school teachers. No, the liberals insisted, there was no reason to take precautions against Soviet subversion. Just because such Roosevelt administration personnel as Alger Hiss, Harry Dexter White and Lauchlin Currie were Soviet agents, it was unfair to suspect Democrats of disloyalty, the liberals said, and it was paranoia — “McCarthyism”! — to vote Republican and hate Communists.

From such a warped perspective, an almost total inversion of reality, liberals fabricated the myth of Republicans as crypto-fascists, and invented an image of the 1950s as a nightmare of “repression.” Three decades later, during the Reagan-Bush era, these liberal delusions of persecution returned, and many Americans under 30 have been persuaded that the 1980s were a sort of neo-Nazi revival. It’s no use trying to discuss facts with young “progressive” fanatics, the ones who are “triggered” whenever someone like Christina Hoff Sommers shows up on a college campus. You simply cannot get these True Believers to understand that they are victims of a partisan propaganda campaign. They will not listen when you explain that their irrational fears originate in myths created by liberal intellectuals like Jonathan Chait for the simple purpose of helping Democrats win elections. So the Trump-is-Hitler card is on the table, and Chait is dusting off his old copy of Adorno’s The Authoritarian Personality, and probably a lot of otherwise well-educated young people are persuaded by this, simply because they haven’t been watching this political version of the old Woody Hayes playbook long enough to recognize the pattern. And it doesn’t matter, really, who the Republicans nominate, or whether the nominee wins or loses. The GOP candidate is always the next Hitler.

If he wins, liberals will spend four years decrying his every policy initiative as a human-rights violation akin to the Holocaust, but if he loses, liberal journalists will turn their attention to demonizing Republicans in Congress as so many mini-Hitlers. Also, if a Democrat wins the White House, liberal reporters will write long “investigative” articles about popular Republican governors, showing how Hitler-like their administrations are. And so in the next campaign cycle, when various GOP senators and governors are competing in the primaries for the opportunity to challenge the Democrat incumbent, every liberal journalist will have a thick dossier on each of the candidates. These dossiers will be full of “news” stories written by other liberal journalists who have toiled many hours to prove the Nazi tendencies of each Republican candidate. Therefore, every televised debate between the GOP candidates will be perceived by liberals as a contest between would-be Hitlers, each seeking to become officially the next Hitler. If you don’t believe these liberal persecution fantasies — if you think it’s OK to vote Republican — then obviously you are secretly a Nazi, and you will be blamed for the Holocaust that ensues if the Republican wins.

Donald Trump is an authoritarian — the next Hitler — according to liberals like Jonathan Chait. Therefore, if Trump is inaugurated as president next January, it will be only a matter of time because liberal journalists are rounded up, loaded onto railroad cattle-cars, and shipped to death camps in Idaho. Jonathan Chait considers this an argument for voting against Donald Trump. But some might see it the other way.

Former writers for Gawker, every on-air personality at MSNBC and CNN, feminist bloggers, Yale professors — all of them crammed into the cattle cars, weeping and shouting “we told you so” as those long trains roll westward — and what will Trump voters be doing then? I’m not sure about you, but I’ve got my eye on a ’57 Chevy Bel Air . . .

Boys with crew cuts! Girls in poodle skirts! Jukeboxes full of vinyl 45s by Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry! We’re gonna have Happy Days, and all we have to do to get there is elect the next Hitler! Jonathan Chait is a visionary genius, really. Just not in the way he’d hoped.



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